Like you, we want your child’s first visit to the dentist to be an enjoyable experience. As hard as it may be to believe, children are not born with a natural aversion or fear of the dentist. However, they do tend to fear the unknown. At Brandywine Dental Services Group, we make a special effort to offer a safe, warm, and non-threatening environment for your child. We use simple words to describe routine treatments and move at your child’s pace. Our number one priority is to make sure your child feels welcome from the moment you arrive at our office. We know the more you know about your child’s first visit, the more relaxed you will feel too.
When Should My Child See the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that a child visits the dentist no later than their first birthday. Why so early? Teeth that erupt between the ages of six and 12 months need proper dental care. Children who visit the dentist by this age incorporate oral hygiene habits into their life from the very start.
Let’s Talk about the First Teeth
On average, a child’s primary (baby) teeth start to erupt between the ages of six and 12 months. This can be a particular painful time for your child. Your child’s gums may be sore and tender to the touch. To ease his or her discomfort, we suggest rubbing the gums with a clean finger. You can also use a cool, wet cloth if you or your baby prefers. Although, many parents still stand by the tried and true teething ring. Once your baby has finished teething, they will have a total of 20 baby teeth. Can you believe it? It happens fast!
These baby teeth will begin to fall out throughout your son’s or daughter’s childhood. Permanent teeth usually arrive by the age of six, and they can continue to erupt until your child reaches the age of 21. By adulthood, your child will have 28 teeth, not including wisdom teeth.
Help Your Child Adopt Healthy Oral Habits
Once you child’s teeth begin to erupt, it is important to visually examine them at home every couple of weeks. Pay close attention for discoloration or lines. These could be signs of decay. Keep in mind that sugary liquids like juice and treats can be especially cruel to new teeth. Make sure that you brush your child’s teeth after they eat or drink and limit the amount of sugary treats you give them. Unlike adults, we recommend that young children with newly formed teeth brush four times a day. A normal brushing schedule may include brushing after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bedtime.
Remember, brushing should, and can be, fun for your child. When the first tooth erupts, parents should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Children under the age of two should not use fluoride toothpaste unless we specifically recommend this during. As your child ages, let them brush their own teeth while you supervise. Even as they become more independent, make sure to go over proper tooth brushing procedures every now and again to make sure your son or daughter is brushing the correct way.
Don’t forget about flossing. We will speak with you personally to determine when an appropriate time is for your child to add this practice into his or her daily, oral hygiene routine.
Regular Checkups Prevent Tooth Decay
What exactly causes tooth decay? Decay is a direct result of sugars left in your mouth that convert into acid. This acid breaks down your teeth. Children are at a greater risk for tooth decay because they do not practice good oral hygiene. Encouraging frequent brushing and flossing combined with frequent dental visits can go a long way in preserving your child’s teeth.
At Brandywine Dental Services Group, we want to see your child every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. In addition to cleanings, we also recommend fluoride treatments twice a year and tooth sealants as needed. We recommend sealants because they reduce the risk of decay forming in teeth that are hard to reach or have deep groves. Sealants last for many years and, in most cases, insurance will cover the cost of application.
To schedule your child’s first dental examine, call us today.